Local insects

As a change of location I took a wander around the local dog emptying facility, the Taylor-Bradbury park at Hudson. It should be better than it is but there is no management and the water quality is rather poor resulting in a low number of dragonfly species. One surprise was River Jewelwing although just one lost itself amongst the hoards of Ebony Jewelwings. Bird wise it was nothing to get excited about, Common Yellowthroat and Swamp Sparrows were common and a single Gray Catbird was nice. In keeping with this year’s abundance of Indigo Buntings, sure enough a male sang his simple tune from on high.

Below a few shots, yes the Indigo Bunting photo is junk.

Twelve-spotted Skimmers posing nicely.

Male Common, formerly Eastern Pondhawk.

Silver-spotted Skipper, its a big un.

Frosted Whiteface.

Ebony Jewelwing with the dark wings and River Jewelwing with the half and half.

Bugs begat bugs

Following on from the previous post, the presence of a multitude of biting bugs meant a mutitude of dragonflies. Tremblant was especially active and some were even landing!

Walking a trail at the Barrage de la Escalier we enjoyed close up views of several species includimg a Stream Cruiser that found my hand a ‘handy’ place to enjoy a snack. Tons of Frosted and Dot-tailed Whiteface. A large darker dragon hawked the trail, eventually landing and allowing the necessary photography to identify it as a Ski-tipped Emerald, a new species for my list. With the recent heavy rain the sandy trail was patted smooth in places, except where a substantial set of paw prints revealed a recent contretempt between Bear and Deer took place, it looked like the Bear had missed.

The Ski-tipped Emerald is the first insect, the chunky devil on the stunt hand the Stream Cruiser. More natural images of the cruiser below.

Sunny weather tempted a Garter Snake out to bask and, unusually, it refused to budge off the track until we almost touched it.

Even after the torment of the Escalier trail we plunged once more into the buzzing morass. If the escalier trail we light on birds, excepting good views of an Olive-sided Flycatcher then the Lac Todor trail was positively crypt like, we did however enjoy many more dragonflies including another new species, Ocellated Emerald. The shots are not great but identify the insect sufficiently.

Even something so small as a Northern Bluet has parasites, as evidenced by the lumps under the tip of the tail.

With the sun comes butterflies including this Frigga Fritillary (above) and Least Skipper (below).

Tremblan is a regular place to see the easy to identify Mustached Clubtail

Finally a couple of interesting insects, a large, riverside dwelling spider and a very odd looking bug which I have no idea of the ID.

Long weekend

We passed the St-Jean Baptiste long weekend in the excellent company of Howard and Kate Broughton, doing a bit of birding at various spots west and north of Montreal.

Friday we introduced them to the voracious Mosquitoes of the area but on the bright side we did find two singing Canada Warblers.

Saturday we had a full day at it, undaunted by the inclement weather which alternated between rain and more rain. We pulled in various sites including Alfred Sewage Farm, a rare treat for the Ladies. Interestingly the lagoon so full of shorebirds not so long ago was dry and being excavated, presumably the good residents will set too re-filling it when the extraction is completed. We also dropped into Parc Plaisance, the sort of site that would make a great local patch and where we saw a good, if fairly damp selection of birds.

Sunday we opted for the fly selection of Tremblant instead of the equally lively assortment of the Huntingdon area. We were off to a flier with dry weather, Wild Turkeys wandering around and a Snapping Turtle which we helped off the road. A short stop en-route allowed us to appreciate an Osprey on its nesting platform. Once at Tremblant the weather alternated a bit before ending hot and sunny. We saw some birds, heard a few more but were generally beaten by a combination of the late season and the insatiable appetite of the flys. I made the total for the whole visit 104 species seen or heard although, with it being the season when the birds have family duties, heard was probsbly 20% of the total.

Below are a few snaps of the birds, more posts will deal with the dragonflies seen. The photos comprise a couple of Common Loon shots, the snapper, Swamp Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush and a photogenic Great Blue Heron, enjoy.

Loads of odes

We have been enjoying a recent fine spell, hot and sunny days prevail and so to dragonfiles I look. The pits and local wet spots have been kind and challenging and their Mosquito populations have enjoyed some class snacking on me as I fought to take their photos. I’m still very green where the Odonta are concerned and I’m seeing species this year that are new to me but clearly common, its a learning curve and they are no less exciting just because they are common.

Not much to report on the bird front though, I am seeing American Bittern at the pits regularly so they are probably breeding there again, otherwise its the quiet time again.

Prince Baskettail – a new species for me that never lands!

Calico Pennant – always worth a look.

And now some clubtails, below Beaverpond.

Dusky

Lancet

Lillypond I think, as always I will listen to debate.

12-Spotted Skimmer – a classic dragonfly

Azure Bluet – my first photographed.

Eastern Red Damsel – pretty scarce in Quebec and the second time I’ve fout it at the pits.

Fragile Forktail – in the garden

Its a bluet right that is orange! Yup, Orange Bluet

Green Darners oviposting together

I call this arty shot ‘Dragonfly laying its eggs’.

More recent stuff

The weather is picking up, 52 degrees C in the car at lunchtime!

Yesterday I did an extended pits visit, mainly for the dragonflies which are abundant now. The walk added Common Baskettail to my pits odes list, there was also still an Osprey around, they are breeding somewhere close by I think. Also likely breeding is American Bittern, one watched me as I picked my way along the shoreline where a remarkable number of dead fish were present. I’m not sure what type, they looked rather bream like. I tried calling out Sora and Virginia Rail with no response so I don’t thing there are any.

Today I dropped in on the local Canada Warbler which continues to sing away, it responds very well to imitations of its song but rarely sits out in the open. Any sort of whistle also attracts the local White-throated Sparrows with the female happy to glare while the male hides his splendours in the vegetation.

A few photos below, enjoy.

A little set of Canada Warbler shots.

And some White-throated Sparrow shots.

Lancet Clubtail

Eastern Forktail showing its fork and facing east.

Two new dragonflies

The season of the dragonflies is upon us, if you have no interest in odonata, bye bye.

The pits have been quiet bird wise but Black Saddlebags are again present, regular readers will remember their discovery last year at a time when they were considered rare in Quebec, based on the avalable information. To appear so early they may have overwintered as larvae although the available literature is not very clear on individual life cycles. Alternatively they arrived as migrants, perhaps information from elsewhere will clarify the situation.

Away from the pits I’ve been looking at a sand extraction pit at Cedarbrook where yesterday I finally identified the little devils that never land as Common Baskettails, this might be an important ID feature as the equally common Beaverpond Baskettail does land readily. Needless to say I did not manage a photo of the Common Baskettails, yet. One species I did pin down that was also new for me was River Cruiser, a bit of a non-descript that pretends to be a small darner type. I lucked in with this one when one landed right in front of me, good job too as they would be very tricky to ID on the wing unless you had the markings and structure pinned down.

Below are a few images, there is one bird so if you kept reading you won’t be totoally disappointed although it is only a sparrow!

Just a note on birding apps for the ipod/pad/phone. A recent on-line discussion highlighted three that are worth having, Warblerheads and Sparrowheads by Birdjam and something called Birdtunes which apears to be all of the North American (USA and Canada) bird songs in an easier to use format than Sibley (some of the songs are duplicates of those found on Sibley) and way better than anything that yells out the name first!

River Cruiser

Four-spotted Skimmer/Chaser whatever, its got four spots.

Lancet Clubtail, it really is a small clubtail this one, just a bit bigger than a meadowhawk.

Northern Cloudywing and below, Hobomok Skipper – not sure what a Hobomok is, perhaps its sat on one..

Spring azure.

Common Whitetail – the names half right.

Sedge Sprite – still with me?

The sparrow, of course I know what it is, if you don’t then bad news, back to basics! Incidentally, not sure what WordPress have done but some captions wander, I’m sure you will figure it out.